June 16, 2024

Blink-182 is the story of a cancer survivor, UFO enthusiast and a publicity maven.

Blink formed in Poway, CA. After releasing an EP and a couple of indie CDs, “Buddha” and “Cheshire Cat,” Blink found there was an Irish band with the same name. On top of that, the Irishmen had lawyers and were ready to use them. So Blink became Blink-182. The name change did them good. They spent 1996-97 on the Warped Tour being embraced by the skaters, surfers and snowboarders.

“Dude Ranch,” rolled out in ’97 and captured the attention of MCA Records. Now stardom beckoned. But there was a bump in the road. Blink-182’s original drummer, Scott Raynor, abruptly departed. As a result, Travis Barker who was touring with his band, the Aquabats, was asked to fill in. In approximately two hours Barker learned Blink-182’s set, some twenty songs, and hit the stage that evening. Having won Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge’s undying appreciation, Barker was asked to join, which of course, he accepted.

“Enema Of The State” arrived in the summer of ‘99 and was still going strong a year later led by the brilliant tracks “What’s My Age Again” and “All The Small Things.”

“The Mark, Tom And Travis Show,” an ‘00 live set featuring their hits and pre-fame material, came next.

“Take Off Your Pants & Jacket” was released the following year and continued the group’s hot streak.

After a break for side projects Blink-182 took a slightly different tack on their self-titled ’03 release.

Whether due to the album’s negative reception, internal disputes or just plain weariness, Blink-182 ceased. There was some backbiting between DeLonge and Hoppus but little else.

Post Blink-182, DeLonge founded Angels & Airwaves. That kept him occupied but not nearly at Barker’s level. His marriage to former Miss USA Shanna Moakler was featured on MTV’s Meet The Barkers (‘05 – ‘06). Predictably, the marriage hit the skids in ’06 which more or less put an end to the series. Barker was on firmer ground as part of Box Car Racer with DeLonge and +44 with Hoppus, among numerous other projects.

On September 20th, ’08 Barker landed (hard) in the news. He was seriously injured following a concert in West Columbia, SC when his plane, a Learjet, crashed off the runway due to a blown tire.

Four people died but Barker and his musical partner DJ AM (Adam Goldstein) survived by sliding down the craft’s wing. Both were listed in critical but stable condition. “My biggest fear ever is to be involved in a plane crash, so when that happened . . . well, I’m just thankful to be alive,” said Barker.

Following Barker’s near-death experience, it was DeLonge who had the change of heart. Having not talked to Hoppus since ‘05’s acrimonious split, DeLonge contacted Hoppus and Barker.

Blink-182’s ’09 tour was their first in four years. It was clear they were taking things more seriously. “We used to walk onstage and forget our parts – we just wanted to play fast and look cool,” said Hoppus. “This time we want to be a little more artistic.”

If a reunion tour goes well (or at least well enough), the next logical step is recording.

Selling 151,000 copies in its debut week, “Neighborhoods,” landed at #2 on the Billboard 200, behind chart topper J. Cole (who sold 75,000 more units).

A five-song EP, “Dogs Eating Dogs,” debuted at #23 on the Billboard 200. It went to #3 on the Billboard’s Independent Albums chart, #5 on the Rock chart and #2 on the Alternative Albums chart.

When things should have been going smoothly, DeLonge had a falling out with his bandmates.

Barker (pictured) stated that DeLonge’s “indefinite” departure from Blink-182 should be “definite.” “I think the right thing for him to do would (be to) just man up and quit the band. I think that would give him some closure (so he could) really do what he’s passionate about.” Barker also asserted that Punk was just a ‘phase’ for the guitarist. DeLonge subsequently left.

Less than two weeks later, Blink-182 performed their first show without DeLonge. In his place at the Roxy in West Hollywood was Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba.

Blink-182’s seventh studio album, “California,” dropped as the group embarked on a supporting tour. The album went to #1 in the U.S. and U.K. The group’s first set to feature Skiba was also their first to top the British chart. 

Meanwhile, DeLonge (pictured) received the UFO Researcher of the Year award from the International UFO Congress for his work regarding extraterrestrial life. 

In mid-’21. Hoppus revealed that he was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for stage 4-A diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.  The treatment concluded later in the year with Hoppus stating the chemo “did the trick.”

Hoppus’ cancer treatment led DeLonge to another change of heart. In ’22, the band officially confirmed that the guitarist had returned.

Tours of Latin America, North America and Europe preceded the release of the band’s ninth studio album, “One More Time…” The ’23 set contained the title track, “More Than You Know” and Dance With Me,” a homage to the legendary Ramones and was the first album since “11’s Neighborhoods” with the line-up of DeLonge, Hoppus and Barker.

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